Belfast Telegraph

UDA leader Stitt facing court over possession of stun gun found in raid

By Ciaran Barnes

UDA leader Dee Stitt is due to appear in Newtownards Magistrates Court on Friday charged with possessing a stun gun.

The Taser-style weapon was allegedly found during searches of the 47-year-old loyalist's Lord Wardens Court home in Bangor by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force.

Officers from the elite PSNI unit raided the ex-prisoner's house on March 29 as part of an investigation into drug dealing and criminality.

In a statement released at the time, a police spokesman said: "Officers from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force carried out three searches under the Misuse of Drugs Act in residential properties in Lord Wardens Court and a commercial property on the Rathgael Road area of Bangor.

"This operation was directed against North Down UDA.

"A small amount of class B drugs, a computer hard drive, mobile phones and a taser stun gun have been recovered."

A furious Stitt later took to social media to deny any wrongdoing.

He claimed that the PSNI had "hit" his home but "got nothing only my families (sic) mobiles and kids' iPads".

He said no drugs or guns were found and his "trial by media" continued. "I stand to defend my name and family. I can do no other," he added.

The prosecution has again called into question Stitt's position as chief executive of the Charter NI charity, which has responsibility for managing a £1.7m government Social Investment Fund (SIF) spend in east Belfast.

It is understood that the charge of possessing a prohibited weapon carries a maximum Crown Court sentence of four years in prison.

Stitt was previously suspended by Charter NI in 2016 after being recorded by The Guardian newspaper launching into a foul-mouthed rant about the government, for which he later apologised.

At the time the SDLP called for him to be sacked, and the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson said: "I would not have him as my chief executive in light of these comments."

Stitt is also facing internal moves to oust him from his position in the UDA, as is the terror gang's east Belfast 'brigadier' and Stitt's close ally Jimmy Birch.

The coup is being led by ex-UDA life sentence prisoner Davy McMaster, who has the support of four of the East Belfast UDA's six 'battalions'.

They see Stitt as being vulnerable because of the huge pressure he has been put under by the police probe into the activities of his North Down UDA gang, recently described as criminals by Chief Constable George Hamilton.

Belfast Telegraph

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